GH Project A Go

GRAND HAVEN — After seven months of negotiations, Grand Haven city officials and developer Craig Adams are looking forward to signing a purchase agreement for 20 acres on the north end of the city by the end of August.

City Planner Erin Kilpatrick-Wade said a purchase agreement for Grand Landing Development LLC to buy the site for $4.3 million will be on the agenda for the Aug. 15 city council meeting.

“Discussions are going very well,” she said. “We anticipate signing a purchase agreement before the end of the month.”

Adams, a Grand Haven resident and CEO of Grand Landing Development, said he is optimistic about the contract.

“We’re taking it a step at a time here,” he said. “We have high hopes that it will achieve approval.”

Once the contract is approved, Adams said he hopes to have construction started in early 2006, following the initial vote, a 30-day waiting period, a final vote in September and a due diligence period.

“A lot of it depends on how quickly we can get all the approvals that we need from the state agencies,” he said.

Closing on the property is set to take place no later than July 2006, Adams said.

The site, which is planned to include a hotel and conference center, residential areas, an office building and retail space, is set to be built in two phases.

The first phase would include a hotel, restaurants, drycleaners, a bank branch, retail shops and a residential component above the retail for an “urban village.” It also will include two more restaurants, retail shops and waterfront town homes on the eastern waterfront.

There would be three types of residential units offered in the first phase.

“The urban village is going to have condominiums above the retail and those will range in size from about 1,000 square feet up to 1,800 square feet,” he said.

The hotel, which Adams said may have an indoor water park, would have four floors of hotel rooms below three to five stories of penthouse-style condominium suites.

“Those will probably range from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet,” Adams said. “Those will have pretty spectacular water views on all sides.”

The hotel would overlook Spring Lake, Lake Michigan and the Grand River.

On the eastern waterfront, two-story, 2,400-square-foot town houses, including two-stall garages, are proposed for a more traditional family-style home, Adams said.

“We hope to have that phase completed within two years of the groundbreaking,” he said.

The second phase will take place on the western waterfront and include more restaurants, retail and town homes as well as an office building and stand-alone residential units.

Adams said no contracts will be signed with occupants until a contract is signed with the city, but there are three letters of intent for the anchors, a fourth is close to a letter of intent, a fifth in discussion and a sixth anchor available.

The site will include 270,000 square feet of residential space, 100,000 square feet of retail and 30,000 of office. Adams said 25,000 to 30,000 square feet of the 100,000 square feet of retail area will be restaurant space.

Adams said the development should be worth $70 million when both phases are finished, which would add about a 7 percent increase to the city’s tax base.

“It’s pretty significant for one project to have that much of an impact,” Adams said.

Kilpatrick-Wade said after the contract is signed, the city will move into the planning phase.

“We’ll start talking about the actual conceptual plan and the types of uses to be included,” she said. “While the planning phase is going on, the development team and the city will be working together on the infrastructure and the environmental remediation aspects.”

If the contract is signed by Aug. 15, the city will make its Sept. 21 deadline to receive an $880,000 Clean Michigan Initiative Waterfront Redevelopment grant for the project that was awarded in 2000. The city was given several six-month extensions for the grant that was meant to reimburse the city for part of the purchase price of the property. Though there was once worry that the deadline would not be met, Kilpatrick-Wade said that is no longer a concern.

“It was a question for a while,” she said.

The attitude about the project is very positive, Kilpatrick-Wade said.

“This is the type of project that we’ve been waiting for, and the developers seem to be equally committed to making the project work. That’s been a big benefit,” she said. “We’re really anxious to start putting a pen to paper and to move forward now.”    

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